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Conway leads way for SA expats at ICC 2023 World Cup

By Alex Ralston , in Cricket | News , at 2023-10-12

DEVON CONWAY of New Zealand PHOTO: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Not every product of the South African school cricketing system goes on to wear the green and gold. The ICC 2023 World Cup opener was a reminder of this as New Zealand’s classy opener Devon Conway set the tournament alight with a fantastic 150 not out against the reigning champions England, in a crushing nine-wicket victory.

It is not uncommon to see South African-born cricketers representing other countries on the international stage. Over the years, players such as Maritzburg College’s Kevin Pietersen, King Edward VII’s Keaton Jennings, Stithians College’s Michael Lumb and, rolling back the clock some decades, Queen’s College’s Tony Greig, have all turned out for other national teams.

Cricket is a sport that transcends borders and unites nations and, at the ICC 2023 Cricket World Cup, several nations have South African-born players showcasing their talents. 

They include:

Devon Conway (New Zealand) – St John’s College

Conway was prolific for St John’s College during his time at the prestigious Johannesburg private school, where he broke numerous school records. New Zealand’s import grew up playing cricket in the Gauteng junior structures and featured alongside current Proteas’ captain Temba Bavuma in the 2008 Coca Cola Khaya Majola Week.

The left-hander started off playing provincial cricket for the Lions before making the move south to New Zealand to try and break into the international set-up there by scoring valuable runs for Wellington, which paved his way onto the international scene. 

Dawid Malan (England) – Paarl Boys High School

The English batsman is an interesting case because he was born in Roehampton, England. However, Malan attended school in South Africa, where he played for Paarl Boys’ High. He represented Boland while growing up in the picturesque surrounds of Paarl and learned his trade in the local structures.

In 2017, after pursuing a career in county cricket since the mid-2000s, Malan made his international debut for England. He boasts a formidable T20I record, with some exceptional performances taking him to the top of the batting rankings in the format for some time.

Roelof van der Merwe (Netherlands) – Hoërskool Waterkloof

The left-arm spinner is not a newcomer to the international stage, having represented The Netherlands at several ICC events. The “Bulldog”, as he is known, because of his fighting spirit, is the only player on this list who has also represented South Africa at the highest level, although his last match for the Proteas took place 15 years ago in 2008.

A product of Hoërskool Waterkloof, he played in the Northerns’ league before being selected for the Titans. Later, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he has made use of a Dutch passport to play for Somerset as a Kolpak player.

Colin Ackermann (Netherlands) Grey High School

Grey High School has produced an enviably long list of high-quality cricketers, and Ackermann, in his time at the school, dominated the run-charts. He toured England with Grey High and was the leading run-scorer in the CSA Under-19 three-day competition in 2009.

He then made the move abroad, joining Leicestershire on a Kolpak contract. In 2019, he made his debut for The Netherlands in the T20 World Cup qualifiers. 

Sybrand Abraham Engelbrecht (Netherlands) – Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool

Not a household name for many South Africans, Affies’ Engelbrecht represented South Africa at the ICC u19 World Cup in 2008, where he grabbed the attention of many cricket fans with his acrobatic abilities in the field. 

However, after failing to secure a regular place in the South African domestic set-up, he moved to the Netherlands to play club cricket. Recently, he qualified to play as an international for his adopted country and made his debut against New Zealand in Hyderabad on 9 October.

Ryan Klein (Netherlands) – Rondebosch Boys High School

Klein is a product of Rondebosch Boys High School in the Western Cape. He made his first-class debut in late 2019, representing Western Province against Northerns. Then, in January 2022, he turned out for the Dutch against Afghanistan in his international debut.

The Netherlands has a strong South African flavour, with Klein and the aforementioned players being joined by coaches’ Ryan Cook (King Edward VII) and Heino Kuhn (Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool) in their set-up.

Other South African-born players include Australia’s Marnus Labuschange and New Zealand’s power-hitting Glenn Phillips. Notably, both players left the country before they attended high school in South Africa, due to the emigration of their parents.

While it might be disappointing for South African fans to see talented players donning the colours of other nations, it’s a testament to the plentiful talent in the country, and to the determination of these cricketers, that they are making their mark on the international stage.

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.